Irish public broadcaster RTÉ could look to develop pay services and international services as it seeks to develop catch-up and video-on-demand, according to Muirne Laffan, managing director, RTÉ Digital.
Speaking at the IP&TV World Forum yesterday, Laffan said there “may be an opportunity for a pay model” on some platforms as well as opportunities to develop international services. “It is difficult [to develop services] in a market of our size, which is about one and half million homes,” she said.
Laffan said that the lack of standardisation and the need to develop new versions so its existing RTÉ Player online service for different platforms was a major challenge in a small market like Ireland. RTÉ is currently developing versions of its player for Samsung, LG and Philips. But even if manufacturers covered some of the cost there was still a significant internal development cost for broadcasters, she said. Laffan said that it made no sense to develop a platform for 50,000 viewers.
Laffan said RTÉ has launched a plus one channel and a news channel originally developed for mobile, as well as its two linear and four radio services, on the country’s digital-terrestrial platform, Saorview. “It’s our objective to make sure we deliver our services wherever the audience wants them,” she said. “We need to bring VOD to DTT.”
She said that RTÉ Player, which is currently available to enable online viewing, should be launched on DTT, but RTÉ needed other broadcaster to launch their services on the platform to make it viable. Only about 20% of viewers use the terrestrial platform to receive services, while the remainder receive services via satellite or cable.
Laffan said that for DTT to be a success, it had to embrace “more innovative services such as VOD”.
Laffan said that the player would be launched on UPC’s cable service in May. A version of the player is available on PlayStation games consoles.